Power, control and guilt of attention.

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sarahoknow
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Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by sarahoknow » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:51 pm

I think the one thing I am realising from reading about other people's experiences and thinking of my own is how much control and power play a part. When I think of how my auntie ruled my life and why she did what she did I think there must have been an element of enjoyment on her side of things. At first I just thought it was a kind of perverse pleasure that she got from it all but then I came to realise that it was more about the control and power over me that she seemed to enjoy the most. She was a very dominant figure at home and in the church and she expected complete obedience from me to her rules.

One of my aunties many rules was that I wasn't allowed to wear make up. It just wasn't right for young girls to make themselves up in the eyes of our Lord. Once when I was 14 and I should have been getting ready for my regular bath night I found some of my aunties lipstick in the bathroom. I couldn't resist trying it on. It felt so grown up to be putting it on but forbidden at the same time.Just as I was admiring myself in the mirror, the bathroom door opened and my auntie was stood there looking shocked and furious. She said I had stolen the lipstick from her bedroom, which I was forbidden to go into. I had found it in the bathroom where she had left it but she didn't want to listen. She grabbed me by the arm and led me downstairs in just my bra and panties. She stood me in front of her women's church group who were sat in our living room. She announced that I was a 'thief,a liar and a harlot' and had to be dealt with. I was then put over her knee and given a spanking with a wooden ruler across my bare bottom. I remember the looks and comments of approval from the elderly faces of the church group women. She then took me over to face the wall with my hands on my head, as she often made me do after a spanking. Just to shame me and embarrass me more but also I am beginning to realise, to exert an even greater sense of control. I then heard auntie pouring water into something and when I was allowed to turn around she had filled a large plastic tub in the living room. She said as I couldn't be trusted to get in the bath I would do it where she could keep an eye on me. She then told me to take off my bra and panties and get in the tub. I remember having my back to everyone trying to take out my hairband from my ponytail as quickly as I could. I overheard comments from some of the church women about the red marks across my bottom and how it would likely sting when I got into the hot water.
It was then that I suddenly realised that everyone in the room was looking at me. I had become the centre of attention and for some reason that I have struggled to understand, I found myself deliberately taking my time, pretending to fiddle with my hairband to prolong the time that everyone was looking at me and talking about me. Auntie would often make me stand and face the wall after she had spanked me and I hated that, especially if their were visitors in the house at the time. But this was different for some reason and its something that I have never really had the courage to explore.
This has given me such mental anguish and turmoil. I have felt extremely guilty for taking some kind of 'pleasure' from the situation.
I have struggled to understand what was going on inside of me to make me feel this way.
Maybe it was a kind of coping mechanism, to try and deal with what was going on. Or maybe I secretly craved the attention. The only time I ever felt noticed was when I was being punished for something. I still don't know.

I barely fit into the tub when I sat down and I remember looking up at auntie and seeing a look of smug satisfaction on her face. It is only recently that I have realised it was a sense of satisfaction of the power and control she had over me. She seemed proud of it almost, especially amongst her fellow church members. She had proven yet again to herself, to me and to everyone else that she was in complete control.
But I looked at auntie and saw that look of pleasure on her face, it was tempered somewhat on my behalf by the thought that I too had taken something from the situation. I didn't dare show it of course but I felt that I had perhaps taken a little something for myself. A little 'victory' to keep me going.
I would imagine that the sensation of power and control over others is something abusers are attracted to. I would think it can become a very addictive thing for them. For survivors, having a sense of control in our lives is probably something we struggle with every day. It gets taken from us and once it does, its difficult to get back.

coconuts
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Re: Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by coconuts » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:03 pm

Yes control and power are such a central theme and line in abusive situations. Abusers often get a kind of high on the power they have. I think this may be part of why abuse is often multigenerational. Survivors lose that control and power and suddenly find a way to control something in abusing others. As victims and survivors we often looked for ways to control the situation we we're in. I believe your story relates to this. You took pleasure because you could drag this out for them and in possibly not acting as put off as they would like. You were exerting what control you could. So many parts of your story you had not control over. Yay for you for this one moment where you could claim some for yourself

SallySunshine
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Re: Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by SallySunshine » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:22 pm

I totally understand that. Control of my environment, and what I will or won't do is very important for me. If I feel someone wants me to do something, I instantly don't want to, and will refuse. My mother said I was just a spiteful child, but I think I was just trying to have control over something, anything... since I had no control over the abuse.

I would be abused whether I was good or not, so I felt I needed something out of it to do back, I guess. I was a small child, so who knows how I rationalized it. It's something I fight daily as an adult. If it wasn't my idea, I buck instantly. I have to step back and think, okay this is so insignificant... why am I bucking this?

Praying one day I can just accept something as a good idea, that someone else had. :?
Last edited by Harmony on Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited trigger indicator from MT to NT due to no triggering content nor language

there
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Re: Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by there » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:39 pm

sarahtoknow,
Reminds me of Power Over, contrasting to Power With. How can I experience more situations of Power With? Sometimes, I can respond to things to make them more fair.
Reach for the stars. ---Christa McAuliffe

sarahoknow
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Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:49 pm

Re: Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by sarahoknow » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:59 pm

Thanks all for the kind replies.
Abuse has so many different layers to it it would seem.
Initial event and then shame, embarrassment, anger, pain, turmoil and guilt.
I think taking even the smallest thing back for ourselves can mean so much.
To be able to turn something around and have 'ownership' of it is probably a key factor in our eventual healing.
Not always easy though of course!
Last edited by Jonesy on Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT, as no triggering content

Booklover
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Re: Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by Booklover » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:05 pm

Hi sarahoknow
Control is so important I had no control as a child that I try and take control where I can within my body. With my eating and SH. It is one of the biggest things I struggle with I even hate God being in control but then as soon as people in authority I do everything they ask even when I know it’s wrong like agreeing to son moving in with his dad when I know he would be better if with me.
Last edited by Harmony on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited trigger indicator from MT to NT due to triggering content.
Booklover

I will become a survivor not a victim

Gentle (((((hugs))))) 🤗if ok

sarahoknow
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Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:49 pm

Re: Power, control and guilt of attention.

Post by sarahoknow » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:57 pm

I totally get that Booklover. I think when we suffer abuse we give up that control completely to someone else. I guess that can easily turn us into a 'controlling people' type of person ourselves. To want so badly to take the control back our natural personalities get changed. It's a yet another side affect of our trauma unfortunately and one I struggle with. x
Last edited by Harmony on Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited trigger indicator from MT to NT due to no triggering content nor language

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